(New York) On Saturday February 20, 2016, several former residents of the Cayon and Green Valley community, as well as concerned citizens of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis who currently reside in the USA, attended a forum dubbed “Crime Intervention” at the PAK Banquet Hall in the Bronx, New York.
The initiative was geared at discussing feasible and sustainable measures that can possibly help in minimizing violent crime in the Cayon community, its environs and ultimately, the entire federation.
Several of Saturday’s participants included educators and child care providers, while others have strong ties in their churches at home, as well as in New York. The attendees were joined by other concerned citizens who engaged in the discussion via a live Facebook stream.
Only last month, the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis recorded six homicides, raising much outcry, finger pointing, and open expression of frustration from the general public. Apart from the murders, several burglaries and assaults have been reported, leaving residents dumbfounded and fearful.
On a positive note, the police force recently made a good faith attempt at addressing the uptick in crime, first by appointing a new Police Commissioner and assigning several key positions, including Assistant Commissioners, one of whom hails from Cayon. Even an overhaul of Her Majesty’s Prison was implemented with a new Superintendent of Prisons leading the charge and stamping his seal of authority on the administration of the prison. The top brass of the police force recently announced plans to enforce the state’s Juvenile Curfew Law which forces families to bear some responsibility in knowing the whereabouts of their children after 10PM. All eyes are on the leadership of the police and expectations are high for favorable results in the efforts to curb crime.
Advocates of last Saturday’s meeting were adamant that the negative labels on the Green Valley Community hurts all citizens, irrespective of their political, religious or social status. The conversation on crime among nationals abroad was focused on problem identification, solution finding and feasible methods for implementation.
While the conversation was broad at times, the participants were very specific on measures deemed workable if the mission to stamp out crime is to meet with any success in Cayon and beyond.
Participants discussed ideas for involving Churches as well as businesses in the fight against crime, providing support for mothers who have lost sons to gun violence, offering mentoring programs at elementary and secondary school levels, encouraging the spirit of volunteerism among residents, promoting leadership among residents, organizing sporting activities, involvement/visibility of the Green Valley festival committee throughout the year, installing and monitoring CCTV’s, engaging in regular town-hall meetings, adopting the PINS initiative (People In Need of Supervision), and reviving organizations/social groups.
The vibrant brainstorming initiative saw a number of positive and sustainable ideas tabled and a commitment from the attendees to continue the dialogue and commit to the implementation of several urgent initiatives currently needed for the area.
Despite the barrier of distance, almost two dozen patriots of the federation of St. Kitts and Nevis who cherish their community made it their business to air their views and offer their suggestions on restoring the communities in which many of their family members still reside. The experience was a lesson in civic pride and a reminder that citizens in the diaspora play a valuable role in enhancing the development in their communities of origin.
Time and again, our nation’s motto begs for us to heed our duty to country. Saturday February 21, 2016 was one such instance.
The journey to save our young men, our communities and our nation continues.